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I can choose to keep my heart open.

liz lamoreux

A story I shared with the lovely souls on my newsletter list:

I'm over here in my studio in the in-between space before Ellie gets home from school, and I'm thinking about you. And I want to talk about something.

I want to talk about how we struggle to stay open even as we long for more love in our lives. How we push others away yet we long to feel seen. How we want to protect ourselves from hurt even though being human means we will get hurt. 

I want to talk about how we close ourselves off from what we long for in such subtle ways.

We close our hearts when we don't accept a compliment, when we put ourselves down, when we get upset with our loved ones about the little things even when we know we could let them go. 

We have signs and quotes in our homes that talk about enjoying the simple moments and choosing dancing over doing the dishes, but we pile on the self-loathing when we scroll through Instagram and see perfect kitchens and flawless self-portraits.

We each have our own ways of making the choice not to open toward this life we're longing for, and I've been noticing how these choices happen in the most routine moments.

The other day, I had an experience of healing around, and I want to tell you about it. Earlier this week, I shared this photo on Instagram

And I paired the photo with these words: On Sunday evening, when I was taking a photo of our dinner table before letting everyone dive in (as one does), Jon said that I looked beautiful and I should take a selfie right this minute. I scoffed (as one does when married for a long time): My sunglasses are on my head. We're about to eat dinner. I don't want to be the blogger taking a selfie while her family waits to eat. But then I stopped and just flipped the camera around and took it. And today when I found it on my camera roll, I had this moment of getting how he sees me. Going to let that sink in as I make my way through this day.

Because here's the truth: Yes, I practice the mirror meditation and have come to a really positive space with how I think about my own beauty. I feel comfortable sharing self-portraits, and I certainly don't aim for flawless, perfection when I do. And yet, it is very hard for me to believe my husband when he tells me I'm beautiful. Especially in an everyday moment. I usually say something sarcastic or roll my eyes or use the "it's because I put on mascara" excuse.

But this time he said it right in front of our daughter who was taking in every word. And when I started to reply sarcastically, I looked at her watching me and stopped and took a breath and chose to listen.

It was such a simple, everyday kind of moment; one that none of us would have really remembered no matter how I responded. But one that deeply impacts all of us.

Dismissing someone's love is not how I want to move through my world over here, especially when this someone is my husband. And I don't want my daughter to witness this dismissal. 

I can choose to make another choice.

I can choose to keep my heart open.

This truth is why I have these words hanging in my studio.

 
 

I wrote these words and then made a little print so I could hang them up, so I will read them again and again to remember that keeping my heart open to all of it is a huge piece of my life's work.

This really is The And Space - we keep our hearts open to the joy and heartache, the beauty and the mess, the truth and all that we cannot control. All of it.

Even though this can feel huge, I have good news for both of us dear heart: This work of keeping our hearts open is actually done in the simplest of moments. At the kitchen table when someone else says, "You are beautiful." And you choose to believe them.

This work is done: 

  • When you smile at the new mom at school who looks as unsure as her child.
  • When you say, "Yes" to getting out of the house to connect with others.
  • When you look yourself in the eye in the bathroom mirror and whisper "You've got this."
  • When you stop talking on the phone when going through the checkout line.
  • When you see the dishes in the sink and choose the dance party anyway.
  • When you don't hold back the tears when with those you trust.
  • When you gently say, "Could you listen to me instead of fix?" when a friend dives into her fixer role. 
  • When you wake up 10 minutes earlier to give yourself the gift of quiet before everyone else gets up.
  • When you wear the red lipstick because it brings you joy.
  • When you order takeout because the day really was that long and hard and no one is grading your ability to make dinner every single night.

This work of keeping our hearts open is done when we choose love and kindness and bravery in simple, real, moments that make up our daily lives.

So here's a little homework for you: Look for your own simple moments where you can choose to keep your heart open (even when the old stories might be pulling you to do something else). And then, if you want to, come back to this email and press reply and tell me about them. Or tell me about one of these moments that happened recently to you. I'd really love to hear your stories.

And remember honey, you are a light is this world. We are all blessed because you are here.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

 

Having a daily practice that grounds you and helps you find space for you is one way you can support yourself in this soul work of keeping your heart open. This fall, I'm offering three ecourses to help you start and maintain a daily practice of mindfulness and self-care.

First up is Water Your Mama Soul. In this 10-day course, you explore ways to be right here in this moment and find the space to choose love... for yourself... for those around you... for this life you're choosing to live each day. You'll take photos and journal a bit and notice what you need each day. You'll reconnect with yourself. You'll give yourself the gift of remembering you. A lovely small circle is already gathering. We start September 14, and I'd love to have you come along. Learn more and register right here.

there are things I want to tell you

liz lamoreux

I want to tell you about the sound of my daughter's laughter when it overflows out of her body and onto the memories of all who surround her.

I want to tell you about the way one deep breath, and then another, brings me closer to love when I make the choice to pause and breathe and listen.

I want to tell you about the birds, oh those birds, who sing every morning with no concern for who is running for president or who has a cleaner kitchen or what words make the perfect sales page.

I want to tell you about the light in our new home and how it heals me every single morning.

I want to tell you about the fire in me that simmered for so long and is now licking at my insides.

I want to tell you about that morning on vacation when I slipped out of bed and went down the hall to find Ellie, and we both wore long dresses and walked out onto the beach while most people were sleeping and took photos of one another twirling in the water and the magic was shimmering in the air and I knew we would never forget.

 
photo by eleanor jane

photo by eleanor jane

What stories are waiting inside you, dear heart? What stories are you wanting to tell? 

get out your camera (eleanor at 6)

liz lamoreux

 

A few weeks ago, Eleanor and I went to Point Defiance park to walk around the rose garden. We were working with prompts from Chapter 2 of Inner Excavation and using our senses to explore.

It was awesome. I let her use my phone to take photos of whatever she wanted, giving her the prompt of "find your senses," which she quickly expanded to "find flowers in every color of the rainbow." 

While she took photos and ran around, I took photos too. With my "big-girl camera." I snapped lots of flowers but also captured Eleanor at 6.

What I found on my camera today made me so very happy I got my big camera out and just had fun.

 
 
 
 

Capturing everyday life through our lens helps us gather evidence of the beautiful, messy, real life we're living every single day. This evidence in turn pushes us to see the ways we're already living the life we sometimes long for. We see examples of the ways we slow down and really enjoy our loved ones, how we take the time to notice the simple beauty around us, and how we honor our own needs. And sometimes a photography practice actually invites these moments of mindfulness and love into our lives. 

Gathering evidence is one powerful way to navigate The And Space. Try it and see what happens. Then come back and let me know what you unearth. 

in the dig site together

liz lamoreux

 

This summer, Eleanor is joining me (and more than 300 others) for the Inner Excavate-along, the read-along meets create-along of my book Inner Excavation.

And it's awesome. She's teaching me so much as she dives into the prompts and does things her way. 

At the beginning of any course I teach, I invite participants to create an intention for themselves. I wanted to teach this to Eleanor as well. So we read the introduction at bedtime a few weeks ago (she asked such awesome questions: Did you really write all of this? How did you know what you wanted to say?) and talked about what an intention is. The next day, she came up with this as her intention and wrote it in her journal.

 
 

Play. Have fun. Make mistakes that I can fix.)  She's working on spelling the words she knows and was delighted when she spelled fix as "fixe" so she could fix a mistake right away! 

I want to always remember that.

 
 

As we dive into each chapter, we're reading some of it together (especially the introductions) and then talking about the general themes. Then we work with a couple of prompts that I choose. (Depending on the age of your child, you could choose them together, work through all of them etc. Ellie is 6, so I'm going with what makes sense for her.)

So far, it has felt like the most important pieces I'm sharing are the different ways to "tell your story" - through photos, words, color, and any other way that makes sense to you. We're gathering words, going on walks to take photos, and also sitting down with our journals and creating with what we've gathered. 

Sometimes, I give her a jumping off point based on the prompts in the book if we don't already have a plan. I'm gently pushing her to write her own stories without asking me to spell every word; she's pushing back that she wants to learn how to spell the words she doesn't know.

 
 

I'm also learning how to stay quiet when I have an idea of what we might create and she's diving in and just having fun without needing any instruction. And I'm also figuring out ways to teach - "look what happens when you do this with your watercolor brush" and encouraging her to be curious and experiment. And I'm trying to let go of my expectations of how this experience "should" look.

So basically, the usual parenting lessons with a big side of color. 

And hopefully along the way, I'm giving her even more tools to express herself, her stories, her feelings, her dreams. Yes yes yes.

 
 

I'm also remembering that I need my own time where I can write my stories down, so I'm creating little pockets of alone time to do that too.

There's still time to join in this summer's free Inner Excavate-along. You just need the book! The course is always available and new folks are joining us every day in our magical Facebook group. You can buy the book here and sign up for the course emails here.

gift guides make me happy {be the blogger contest}

liz lamoreux

 

This post is sponsored and part of my ongoing collaboration with eBay.

One of my favorite kinds of guides to write on eBay is a gift guide because giving someone a gift that makes them happy, that might even help them feel deeply seen as a person, becomes its own gift to me. And because I'm on Pinterest so much curating good things to pin, it's become a passion of sorts to gather up these gift ideas into guides and blog posts to share with you. 

This leads us to the fourth and final theme for eBay's Be the Blogger contest, which means that this is your last chance to enter to win $1000 to spend on eBay.

 

 

Be the Blogger Theme 4: Half-Way to Holiday 

What this final theme is all about: The holidays will be here before you know it! Get a jump-start and create your ultimate gift guide.

Check out my new gift guide full of mindfulness gifts to get a feel for what a gift guide looks like and the format that works well. 

And here's the part where I tell you that you should enter. For real. Not only because this is the last round of the contest. But also because gift guides are fun and pretty easy to write. And because we're in the middle of summer and lots of people are on vacation and having adventures in the sun, you might not have that much competition with your guide. So write one. Like right now.

Here are some tips to get your started:

  • Think about the niche things you love to share with your friends. Do you love journaling, coffee, Star Trek, or decorating? You could create gift guides on any of these themes. Make it fun for yourself.
  • Another great thing about creating a gift guide on eBay is that you can link right to the products you're sharing about and you can snag photos from the listings on eBay to use as part of your guide. 
  • Be sure to include at least one photo with words on it so it can be shared on social media. See my guides for examples. 

Visit the Be the Blogger Contest page and check out all the juicy details and fine print. You will submit your guide on that page too, and be sure to choose my name as the blogger you follow when you submit because I'll be choosing the winner and will highlight the winner's guide on Pinterest to my 3.7 million followers.

Check out my other posts about the contest with more tips right here

Most of the answers to your questions about how to enter can be found on the Be the Blogger Contest page and in the Terms and Conditions found there. Remember to also read my guide on How to Create an eBay guide for more tips and answers to questions. I look forward to reading all of your guides!

And note that I'll announce the Theme 3 winner over on Facebook soon. Stay tuned! And eBay will be in touch as well.